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  M.   November 18, 2010

Gemma Arterton ditches the hot pants for a serious turn treading the boards in London play

She complained recently of a lack of serious roles and being treated like a ‘piece of a**’ by Hollywood.

So it is unsurprising that Gemma Arterton’s latest role is as far from Tinseltown as possible.

The former Bond girl is starring in The Master Builder at the Almeida Theatre in London, in a meaty role that sees her stretch her acting chops and appear make-up free.

She is best known for her role as the seductive title character in Tamara Drewe, but despite the role making her a household name, the 24-year-old complained recently about being how she is now seen as a sex symbol.

‘There are pictures of me everywhere in those f****** hot pants,’ she said.

‘I read so many scripts and they’re all the same. Either the character is just someone to be in the background or they’re there to help the man, to be the love interest, like I’ve done in Prince Of Persia or Clash Of The Titans.

She added, in the interview with GQ: ‘What I want to do is find characters who are the focus, like Nicola Six; sexy and real women, not perfect, not pin-ups.’

‘I’m looking at working with people I get on with, that respect me, that don’t just see me as a piece of ass. Which I have experienced as well.’

And it seems Gemma has found a project that fits the bill.

She plays central character Hilde Wangel, alongside Stephen Dillane as Halverd Solness, the Master Builder.

Her character in the classic 1892 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, is described as ‘a bewitching young woman, who arrives to collect a decade-old debt from Halverd Solness’, and threatens to be the master builder’s downfall as he completes his architectural masterpiece.

The actress appears make-up free and dressed down on stage, in stark contrast to her vamp role as head girl in St Trinian’s and agent Strawberry Fields in 007.

It is not the actress’ first stint in theatre. She appeared in Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and made her West End debut earlier this year in the The Little Dog Laughed.

When her role in The Master Builder completes on January 8 next year, Gemma will be heading back to Hollywood to film her scenes for the third installment of Men in Black.

The alien comedy, which has already commenced production, will see Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reprise their roles as Agents Jay and Kay.

Gemma is among an all-star supporting cast that includes Betty White, Emma Thompson, Josh Brolin, Alec Baldwin and Nicole Scherzinger, who was spotted on set filming last week.

It is slated for release in May 2012.